Game improvement. Next step: Big Step.

Earlier this week I finally addressed an issue that has been bothering me for quite some time; my equipment.  Since moving to Titleist DCI 822 OS irons around 10 years ago, my ball striking and GIR stats have been a continual source of frustration.  Everyone has bad ball striking days, but experienced players can feel a good swing born of balance, power, speed, and agility, and on too many occasions, I’ve felt the good swing and dealt with a substandard result.

On Tuesday, I laid down on the proverbial swing couch of master club builder Wade Heintzelman, of the Golf Care Center, and presented all my issues.  Wade has been building clubs for 28 years and has many excellent players as customers including several from the PGA Tour.  I figured I’d go to the best to finally get my issues addressed.  Over the course of my nearly two hour fitting, I learned that the 822s are designed for a lower caliber player that has an outside to in swing.  The clubs were one inch too long, had shafts that were too light, and the heads had too much offset and bounce.  Wade informed that often players adapt their swings to their equipment, and after receiving this information the pieces of my swing puzzle fell into place.  I had been coming up and out of my spine angle to account for the misfitted length, and the poor swings coupled with the added bounce on the iron heads were causing all the thin pushes that have plagued me inside 130 yards, as well as the thinned chips around the green.

During the fitting, Wade identified my proper loft, lie, length, total weight, shaft flexibility, grip size, and swing weight.  We discussed my set make up, what ball I played, and how I liked to approach the game and what shots I relied upon under pressure.  Then we discussed my wedge game and developed a plan to cover the yardage umbrella between 80 and 100 that I was previously covering with swing modifications.  I did not have any preconceived notions about manufactures or options and told Wade to make a recommendation solely based on his experience and what would be best for me.

I left the shop feeling very positive and taken care of and I realize I’m going to need to hit the delete button on all the frustrations of playing with misfit equipment over the last 10 years.  You’re probably thinking, “the carpenter is blaming his hammer for the bad house he just constructed,” and you may be right because I’m a big advocate of spending scarce resources on swing instruction over equipment changes, but this one feels like the right thing to do.

My new set should arrive within a week and I’m eager to game test it.  After making such a significant change, I’ll need to adjust to the new feel, change in distances, and hopefully regain some confidence in my natural ability.  I think a good read will require about 10 rounds, and I plan to have these played, as well as plenty of range sessions logged, before the 2013 trip to Myrtle Beach in May.  What do you think of this approach?

The old vs. new set makeup and specs:

Old:

  • Irons: 3 – PW, Titleist DCI 822 OS, Titleist NS Pro 650 (stiff)
  • Gap Wedge: Cleveland Tour Action 533, 49 degrees, Dynamic Gold S-300
  • Sand Wedge: Cleveland Tour Action 533, 56 degrees, Dynamic Gold S-300
  • Lob Wedge:  Taylormade Rac Tumble, 60 degrees, Uniflex shaft

New:

  • Hybrid Irons: 3, 4.  Mizuno H4, Dynamic Gold S-300 shafts, Tourwrap 580 grips, swing weight D2
  • Irons: 5 – PW, Mizuno JPX 825 Pro, Dynamic Gold S-300 shafts, Tourwrap 580, swing weight D2.
  • Wedges:  Cleveland CG 16, lofts 50, 54, 58 with specs commensurate to the irons.
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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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3 Responses to Game improvement. Next step: Big Step.

  1. Congrats on the new clubs. I also went through an iron, wedge and putter fitting and I can tell you it makes a world of difference. The one thing I would say is stay patient. Just like you said in your post people tend to adjust their swings for their misfitting clubs. That happened to me and I had to break some bad habits over time. After I settled into the new clubs it was a relief to know I was playing the best fit for me. Good luck, enjoy the new clubs and can’t wait to hear how they work out.

  2. Brian Penn says:

    I’m hoping I can adjust back as quickly as I adjusted to the poor fitting clubs the first time. Right out of the box, I was pushing my DCI 822 PW on good swings and I would alternate with my old PW and hit it straight. Very frustrating but as you said, I need to be patient because I’m trying to break 10 years of form fitting bad habits. Hoping for some good weather this winter to get out and road test the Mizunos. Thanks!

  3. Good Luck with your equipment changes, hope it all goes well.

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